Same Mistake by Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah – (Ups to NPR music on the recco) CYHSY is behind one of the very first WDs (Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth; WD VI N3). This is from their soon to be released (always head of the curve here at WD) junior album, Hysterical. (N.B. If a band’s second album is their sophomore, then the third one has to be called junior.) The sophmore album fell fairly flat, but this track is a nice and welcome rebound given their first album was really really, good. I would call this song fairly magical (vomit “kind of unique…”), sweeping even, like a energetic young American U2. I like it a lot.
Summer’s not over. Heatdome, that vicious bitch, is lying in wait for one more stultifying spell of 105 degree days forcing us back in our homes (to crunch over blog posts/baseball stats) avoiding her brutal wrath. I know she is. But this weekend in Action City it felt like the summer was over. Not the end of summer to which we’re accustomed, the hot hot hot hot really hot really hot hot hot hot – fuck you – snow, end of summer, but the gradual descent into something tolerable like a pie cooling on a window sill (N.B. Is this actually done or is this some halcyonic pseudo memory I have wherein I also expect that any pie left near any window will be stolen by Huey Dewey and/or Louie causing tons of ruckus or, conversely, filled with blackbirds set to erupt from it? Disney Channel much growing up?). And it felt great to be outside. It felt perfect to be outside. Wife and I walked to the fucking grocery store (with our own reusable hippie-bags and everything). Beers on patios, low impact gardening, grilling…summer shit, sublime. However, as much as I enjoyed this weekend, it forced me to lament that this summer, this time for outdoors, has not been something to enjoy, but only to endure; to run from in bursts of sweaty energy from already warming cars across heated asphalt griddles to the relief provided by ridiculously overworked air conditioners; to consciously, actively and enthusiastically make the decision not to go outside for an entire day; to artificially prop up gardens in the unnatural heat with rain-forest like levels of water, to consider the survival-level implications of flat tires on empty highways, to wish more than anything that it would just cool the fuck off. However, I got to enjoy, to relish, this holiday weekend and it was great. As such, I’m declaring summer, in the 2011 sense, over; next season, please.
This weather respite (and finishing The Pale King on Monday) immediately made me consider my summer checklist in WD VII N30. Let’s review. I guess for dramatic impact I’ll go in reverse order.
1o. Turn 33 – Success – And I did it exactly how I like to do it, by throwing myself a big ole’ whiskey fueled egocentric birthday party at still the coolest (not best) place in town. Thank you, Action City/Norman crew, for coming. Thank you Juniors for remembering 1982 in such exquisite detail.
9. Fix the toilet in the guest bathroom – Partially – The initial problem complained of has been fixed. However, there is a new problem in the same toilet for which I am now weighing our options (N.B. Moving is still on the table).
8. Take one massive picture with Gabe, Bode, Violet, Beckett, Nora, Daxton, Ben and Pierson (I’ve been informed) eating at a booth in Big Bubba’s – Abject Failure – maybe next year.
7. Cause my father to (again) finish last in the Ada Member-Guest Golf Tournament one year after winning the championship flight with my brother as his partner – Unqualified Success – Things weren’t looking great after day one, but the amount of club specials we had at the turn on day two ensured our futility. But, yet again, everyone who played with us left thinkng…shit those guys are fun. You’re welcome, Dad.
5/6 Brew one batch of really good beer and cure and smoke my own pastrami – Partiall Success (see left) – The pastrami was pretty good. The beer wasn’t memorable. However, the creation of both was quite fun.
4. Read The Pale King, David Foster Wallace’s posthumously released final novel – Success – There is what writers/novelist today do: create engaging characters, develop interesting plots, tell great stories, manipulate language, even say important things. Then there is what DF Wallace did. He played a different sport. To say he was/is my favorite writer, the one I’d want to emulate, the one at times I try to emulate is a no brainer. I’ll say he was our generation’s best and most talented writer, others will also. Not everyone agrees. Not a lot of people get him. I’d wager a lot of you have never heard of him. His writing was difficult and dense. It took me 7 years to read his 1996 masterpiece, Infinite Jest (not all having to do with the fact it’s 1000+ pages). He committed suicide in 2008, which means his death came by his own hands, but it wasn’t a reckless/Cobain suicide. Depression killed him. A depression inseparable from the beautiful and focused mania that drove and inflated his prose. As such, my love and awe for it also comes with guilt over what he must have had to endure to create it. His inchoate final work was left with the intention of it, whatever it was, being published. The Pale King is what they published. It’s maddening and incomplete and brilliant and beautiful. I lingered on the last 100 pages for awhile because I didn’t want it to be over, but also because I knew it wouldn’t be finished. Either way, it was remarkable.
3. Celebrate wife’s 31st birthday – Success – Celebrated exactly how she wanted it…with no one mentioning it whatsoever.
2. Celebrate 4th wedding anniversary – Success – We’ve decided to commit to a 5th.
1. Take son to first baseball game – Failure/incomplete – Heatdome. We could have gone on Monday after the break in the weather. Gabe and I discussed. He said he’d rather sit on a patio with The Bode. Next year. Enjoy.